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How Crew Agents Get A Bad Rep

Yacht Crew Agent

I was contacted by a crew member of ours who asked if we could have a call do discuss a situation over the weekend. After a lengthy call, he laid out what had happened to him.

He is currently employed and although he is happy enough, he is looking to step up into a higher position which unfortunately is not possible on his current yacht.

He applied for a job through another crew agency which he unfortunately did not get.

OK, well, maybe it’s better to just hold out for a minute until the right job comes in, he thought.

Unbeknownst to him, this same agency forwarded his CV to a different captain for a job he wasn’t aware of.

The captain contacted the candidate’s current employer for a reference which unfortunately resulted in him being fired. Was this a case of unfair dismissal? You be the judge.

Nevertheless, the candidate is understandably upset and is considering legal action against the agency.

Sending a candidate’s CV to an employer without the consent of the candidate in question is wrong and cannot be tolerated.

Why then does this happen? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and we have heard as much from multiple crew over the years. Our co-founder Tom attested to this in a previous blog as it happened to him as well.

It underlies a bigger problem in the recruiting industry, namely: The race to be first.

Often a client will contact multiple crew agencies to fill a position quickly which prompts some crew agents to pepper the client with CVs in the hope that one ‘sticks’ and they can claim to be the introducer of the candidate if hired. In other words, there is a race to get CVs to a client at all costs before another agency can.

I understand why employers choose to do this, especially if it is an urgent situation however it often leads to the following:

  • Agents often cut corners with due diligence as this is normally the most time intensive portion of the process.
  • Recruiters see the same job posted by multiple agencies which can cause some to not invest as much time and energy into looking for suitable crew as they know the odds are stacked against them from the get go.
  • Some agents submit multiple candidates (many often totally unsuited to the brief) just to get a CV – any CV – on the client’s desk.
  • Employers become frustrated with the number of CVs they must wade through by all of the agencies.
  • Ultimately communication breaks down because the already busy employers get hounded for feedback about candidates (often the same candidate) from multiple agents.
  • Candidates are left wondering what happened to their application as they do not receive feedback due to the communication bottleneck and often take other positions while waiting for word.
  • Candidates become increasingly frustrated with the lack of feedback from the agent because many don’t take the time (or can’t) provide any.  

Ultimately this results in frustration for all involved and leads to employers and agencies getting reputations that may or may not be justified.

There is a solution, trust your agent to give you the best service and use them exclusively; at least for as long as possible. Everyone works harder when they feel trusted and valued.

Crew are not a commodity to be traded and understanding the needs of the crew member as well as those of the client is of paramount importance. We work in a very high paced and demanding industry, however taking the time to do right by all parties and provide the expected level of professionalism and service is why some agencies don’t succeed and contribute negatively to the image that many have of crew agents.

We founded YOA as a result of the above frustrations and keep our guiding principle in mind with every interaction. It is very heartening to hear that our clients and crew feel we are doing just that.

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